February 2018

Cities Lead the Way in Digital Government

Graduate students, top civil servants, management consultants, think tankers and other public-sector leaders gathered in Brussels for The 2018 College of Europe State Transformation Case Study Presentations. The high-level roundtable was hosted by the European Centre for Government Transformation, a tri-partite collaboration between the Lisbon Council, the College of Europe and Accenture. At the opening session, three teams of College of Europe students (Simone Veil promotion) presented the preliminary findings of their year-long investigation into the concrete problems of a European public service agency. This year, the aspiring civil servants studied a pilot project to use blockchain for land registration in Torino (Italy), a public campaign for quicker adoption of smart lighting in Eindhoven (the Netherlands), and ways of managing health and mobility more efficiently to boost growth in Stavanger (Norway). Gertrud Ingestad, director-general for informatics at the European Commission, chaired the high-level jury of top civil servants from EU member states and the European institutions, who will eventually award The 2018 Public Service Innovation Award to the best project. This year, the cities themselves were all chosen from among the finalists of the European Capital of Innovation Award, a multi-year European Commission-led programme to grant cash prizes to innovative cities to scale up and expand innovative policies. Later, members of the Government Innovation Executive Circle met to discuss the challenge and opportunity of public service in the digital age. Ms Ingestad kicked off with a broad discussion on the state of play of “interoperability,” and the plans and priorities of the European Commission. Roberta Cocco, counsellor for digital transformation and citizens services at Milan, brilliantly outlined the strategy she is implementing to provide better, more user-centric and modern public services to citizens.